The commander of East African Community Regional Force (EACRF) Maj Gen Jeff Nyagah held a meeting with DRC President Félix Tshisekedi in Kinshasa for briefs on progress in their war against rebels in eastern DRC.
Thursday, December 30 meeting also discussed the overall security situation ni Eastern DRC, the current progress on EACRF deployment, the ongoing operations and the plans for the force.
Later, the EACRF delegation, Ad Hoc Verification Mechanism and the Extended Joint Verification Mechanism held a meeting at Kibumba to assess the progress of the ongoing coordinated, sequenced and systematic withdrawal of M23.
The delegation acknowledged the withdrawal of the M23 from Kibumba and the successful takeover of the area by EACRF forces as a critical milestone in compliance with the Luanda Communiqué of November 23, 2022.
“The parties remain concerned with the ongoing hostilities against innocent civilians and the lack of ceasefire by parties to the conflict, leading to aggravation of the security situation in the Eastern DRC,” a statement from the team said.
The delegation resolved that in addition to Kibumba, M23 will commence a well-coordinated, sequenced and systematic withdrawal from the occupied areas of Rumagambo by January 5 and subsequently Kishishe, with the EACRF concurrently deploying forces to take over the vacated positions.
The force commander reiterated the need for all parties in the conflict in Eastern DRC to immediately observe the ceasefires outlined in the Luanda communiqué of November 23.
He called for an immediate cessation of targeted attacks on innocent civilians who continue ot bear the brunt of the ongoing conflict.
Maj Gen Nyagah said an independent investigation into the killings in Kishishe is inevitable and those culpable to be held responsible with an urge to those who ran away to return and give accounts of the incident.
He said Luanda and Nairobi processes will continue addressing the underlying issues of the Eastern DRC conflict.
“The local leadership must take lead in the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in areas vacated by M23 and subsequently occupied by EACRF and appeal to humanitarian agencies to enhance aid to the affected,” he said.
“Vandalism and looting of property belonging to the people of Eastern DRC by any party must be brought to an immediate stop.”
Nyagah urged all not to tire, remain focused, be resilient and feel encouraged, notwithstanding the challenges therein.
“The M23 has committed to fully comply with the Luanda communique on total withdrawal from areas under their control to the designated areas and further to the East Africa Community Chiefs of Defence Forces’ decision of December 16 held in Dar-es-Salaam,” he said.
“EACRF remains committed to ensuring the return of internally displaced persons, the protection of civilians and the opening of main supply routes to facilitate humanitarian assistance.”
Kenya is among the East African Community countries that have sent troops to DRC.
Other countries include South Sudan and Burundi while Uganda is preparing their troops for deployment.
Source : The Star